Phillis Wheatley was an American author who is considered the first African-American author of a published book of poetry. Her work was praised by many, including “George Washington” (1st President of the United States).
She has many quotes that are inspiring and insightful. In this article, we will take a look at some of her best quotes!
About Phillis Wheatley
Phillis Wheatley was an African- American author who was born in 1753 in Senegal. She was sold into slavery at the age of seven and brought to Boston, where she was purchased by a family named Wheatley.
The Wheatleys treated Phillis well, teaching her to read and write, and she soon began to show a talent for poetry. In 1773, Phillis published a collection of poems called “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.”
The book was a success, and Phillis became the first African-American author to have a book published. Phillis continued to write and publish poems until her death in 1784. She died of illness at the age of 31. Phillis Wheatley was a groundbreaking author who helped to pave the way for future African-American writers.
Here are the best Quotes by Phillis Wheatley
Wheatley’s poetry was widely praised, and she became a celebrated figure in both the white and black communities. Let’s take a look at some of her most famous quotes:
1. “Imagination! who can sing thy force? Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?”― Phillis Wheatley
This quote by Phillis Wheatley is a celebration of the power of imagination. Wheatley recognizes that imagination is not just an idle daydream but rather a force that can shape the world.
With imagination, we can see possibilities that others cannot. We can envision future worlds and create new ways of thinking. And, crucially, we can use our imaginations to effect change in the present.
Wheatley’s quotes on imagination show how important this quality is. Without imagination, we would be stuck in the status quo, unable to see beyond what exists today. With it, we can change the world.
2. “In every human Breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance.”― Phillis Wheatley
This quote by Phillis Wheatley beautifully explains the natural human desire to be free from oppression. We all have a yearning for freedom, regardless of our current situation.
This desire is so strong that it can motivate us to take risks and fight against those who would seek to control us. Whether we are struggling against an oppressive government or simply striving to break free from our own personal limitations, the love of freedom is an essential part of who we are as humans.
3. “Since my return to America, my Master’s has at the desire of my friends in England given me my freedom.”― Phillis Wheatley
This powerful quote by Phillis Wheatley speaks to the strength of her character and the importance of her friendships. As a slave, Wheatley was not legally allowed to be free.
However, she was able to obtain her freedom through the support of her friends. This quote shows that even in the darkest of circumstances, friendship can be a light that guides the way to freedom.
4. “Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side; Thy every action let the goddess guide.”― Phillis Wheatley
5. “Hold in bondage Afric: blameless race Let virtue reign and then accord our prayers Be victory ours and generous freedom theirs.”― Phillis Wheatley
Phillis Wheatley was an enslaved African American woman who became one of the most prominent poets of her time. In this quote, she calls on Americans to free the enslaved people of Africa and let them “reign” in virtue.
She reminds Americans that they, too, are praying for freedom and that they should be relentless in their pursuit of it. This quote is a powerful reminder of the horrors of slavery and the need for all people to be free.
Phillis Wheatley’s words continue to resonate today as we fight for freedom and justice for all.
6. “Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand That there’s a God, that there’s a Savior too: Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.”― Phillis Wheatley
7. “No longer shall thou dread the iron chain, Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand Had made, and with it meant t’enslave the land.”― Phillis Wheatley
The quote by Phillis Wheatley demonstrates the power of freedom. No longer shall people be afraid of the chains that Tyranny has placed on them. This quote shows that with freedom, people will no longer be under the control of others.
They will be able to live their life the way they want to, without worrying about what others might say or do to them. This quote is inspiring and shows the strength that comes with freedom.
It is a reminder that everyone deserves to be free and that nobody should have the right to take away another person’s freedom.
8. “The world is a severe schoolmaster, for its frowns are less dangerous than its smiles and flatteries, and it is a difficult task to keep in the path of wisdom.”― Phillis Wheatley
The world is a harsh teacher, for its scowls are more dangerous than its smiles and flattery. It is a difficult task to stay on the path of wisdom. This quote by Phillis Wheatley speaks to the idea that it is better to be feared than loved.
The world is full of people who are quick to offer empty flattery, but those same people are often the ones who will turn their backs on you when you need them the most.
It’s better to have the respect of others, even if it means being seen as stern or unyielding. After all, the world can be a cold and unforgiving place, and it’s important to be prepared for whatever challenges it may throw your way.
9. “Through thickest gloom look back, immortal shade,
On that confusion which thy death has made.”
― Phillis Wheatley
The above quote by Phillis Wheatley is often interpreted as a call to action for people who have experienced tragedy. In the face of death and destruction, it can be easy to feel hopeless and lost.
However, Wheatley reminds us that we must always “look back” at the chaos that our deaths have caused. Only by understanding the magnitude of our loss can we hope to find our way forward.
This quote is a powerful reminder that, even in the darkest of times, we must never give up on ourselves or our ability to find meaning in life.
10. “Freed from a world of sin, and snares, and pain, Why would you wish your daughter back again?”― Phillis Wheatley
These words, spoken by Phillis Wheatley, ring with the painful truth of loss. To lose a daughter is to lose a piece of oneself. And yet, as Wheatley suggests, there is freedom in death. In the afterlife, our loved ones are released from the pain and suffering of this world.
They are free from the sin and temptation that can so easily lead us astray. They are freed from the heartache and hurt that comes from living in a fallen world. And so, while it is natural to grieve for those we have lost, we can find comfort in knowing that they are now in a better place.
With these thoughts in mind, we can begin to heal the wounds of our broken hearts and move forward with hope for the future.
11. “By her unveil’d each horrid crime appears, Her awful hand a cup of wormwood bears. Days, years mispent, O what a hell of woe! Hers the worst tortures that our souls can know.”― Phillis Wheatley
The quote by Phillis Wheatley is a powerful reminder of the consequences of a life lived in sin. By revealing the truth of our actions, Wheatley shows that we will ultimately be judged by a higher power.
The cup of wormwood mentioned in the quote represents the bitterness and pain that we will experience as a result of our wrongdoings. This quote is a sobering reminder that we must be careful in how we live our lives, as the choices we make today will have a lasting impact on our future.
Let’s Wind Up…
Phillis Wheatley was an incredible poet with a powerful message. She used her poetry to fight for the rights of African Americans and women, and she left behind a legacy of wise words that are still relevant today.
We hope you enjoyed these eleven quotes from Phillis Wheatley as much as we did. If you have any suggestions for other great quotes from this inspiring figure, let us know in the comments!